What is Excess Hair?
When there is an excessive amount of hair on the face or body or when hair grows in unusual places we term this excess hair. It is normal to have some hair on the face and body but an excess of hair can cause discomfort or cause people to feel self-conscious about their appearance.
What are the symptoms of Excess Hair?
We classify excess hair as being Hirsutism or hypertrichosis.
Hirsutism usually first appears in late teenage years and tends to get more severe as a woman gets older. It is usually isolated hair growth in specific sites such as the moustache, beard, eyebrows, abdomen, and chest, upper back and inner thighs. It can appear on just one of these sites or multiple sites. The hair that grows is usually thicker and darker than normal hair. Hirsute women may also develop thicker, longer hair than is usual on their limbs and back.
Hypertrichosis can be present at birth or appear at any time after, and either involves a generalised all-over increased hair growth, or localised excess hair growth to one or more sites.
What causes Excess Hair?
Hirsutism is caused by an increased number of male hormones (androgens), causing women who suffer with the condition to develop hair in the same places as males. It has a genetic basis. Hirsutism later in life may be due to polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance or obesity.
The cause of Hypertrichosis is unknown. It may be associated with other skin conditions, malnutrition, cancer or a side-effect of drugs or medication.
Who is at risk of Excess Hair?
Hirsutism is often genetic, meaning that male or female family members are more likely to have more hair than average. It tends to get more severe as a woman gets older.
Androgenic medications can also lead to symptoms of hirsutism.
How do you treat Excess Hair?
If the excess hair is causing discomfort and distress you should see your GP or a Dermatologist to diagnose any underlying medical conditions. If you have been given the all-clear then treatment for excess hair will focus on reducing the appearance of the visible hair (camouflaging) or removing the hair.
Bleaching can make unwanted hair lighter and therefore less obvious.
Home hair-removal techniques can include waxing, hair removal creams and shaving
Electrolysis uses an electrical current targets hairs in their anagen phase to provide a permanent form of hair removal.
Laser hair removal is a viable option for most people and can provide a more permanent or longer lasting solution. Patients may need a minimum of 6 treatments initially, thereafter hair regrowth will be noticeably lighter and finer than before. At London Real Skin we can also offer laser hair removal in conjunction with prescription cream for reducing facial hair (Vaniqa) which can increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
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